Be Cautious Using Reply All & Forwarding Emails in Your Transactions

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

 Be Cautious Using Reply All and Forwarding Emails in Your Real Estate Transactions


Who ARE you emailing to and shoudl theybe getting that information?Emails are, in most transactions, essential and a significant part of the communications among the various parties involved in real estate transactions.


While we have each likely had at least one seller or buyer who does not use email, I suspect those are rare situations, and even then there are others in the process who are using email – escrow, lenders, title, inspectors, agents, and others.


Preserving confidentiality is essential no matter which side of the fence you are on.


Being cautious about how and when you use REPLY ALL or FORWARD emails is something to always keep in mind.



Is there something in the email content that should NOT be shared with everyone?

Are there email addresses that should not be shared (i.e., are you replying all and including your client but sending that email to the other agent, thus revealing YOUR client’s email?)

And keep in mind what is in the thread of all the "reply all" emails, which might include 5 or more emails. Is there something that should not be shared with certain people?

And what about those email addresses that get added and you don't know WHO the people are - they might be assitants of the escrow officers, etc. but best to know WHO is receiving all this information


You can’t assume that everyone included on an email (which might be several folks at the escrow or title company or the lender’s office) needs to know everything or how they might also treat the email content. And sometimes the content, say a series of complaints or comments by one person (yep had this happen from another agent who was sharing a rather rude comment about the escrow officer and it got shared with everyone in the world!), are NOT appropriate to be shared.


The same is true of forwarding emails to others. It’s important to consider what content you are forwarding, and to whom. And don’t forget the string of emails that are attached, or email addresses that are listed but should not be share (e.g., a client to the other side).


We all use email so often (it is not usual for me to have a 750 or more emails in my folder online from a given transactions) , and perhaps are moving quickly and not paying close attention to what is being shared.


And how about when you add an email address, don’t pay attention (you have 2 or more people in your address book named Mary…), and it goes to the wrong person?


Email is quick, creates a terrific paper trail, can be sent anytime, and shares information that others need to know without having to make multiple phone calls. But being cautious about HOW and WHEN you use it is an important part of the job.


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Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Such a simple slight of the "send" button, and blam . . . can't recork that email bottle!  I've done it a few times, and have been on the receiving end too.   Very reminder Jeff!

Oct 04, 2014 06:31 AM #27
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

I try to be very cautious on who receives my emails. I never want the wrong information getting to the wrong people. I rarely use the reply all option.

Oct 04, 2014 06:43 AM #28
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

When it comes to communicating with the clients, every email should be an original just to protect the client. When there are additional people the response should be limited to that which is a need to know only

Oct 04, 2014 08:07 AM #29
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Such great information!  That is one area that I'm very careful with.  Sometimes you just need to start a new conversation/email.

Oct 04, 2014 09:06 AM #30
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Grant - yep the REPLY ALL on those emails to a large list of folks drives me nuts. There are times when all on the list need to get the email, but often no.

Marisa and Demarco - oh yeah, been there done that. I suspect it has happened to everyone. Major embaraassment

Margaret - they just don't think about the consequences. And there are are communications when people ARE aksed to reply all so everyone knows and people don't

Bruce - we have all goofed I expect. And sometimes perhaps don't even realize it. I really have to watch when I am really busy


Oct 04, 2014 09:36 AM #31
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I love gmail because it has an "undo" option.  This has saved me more than once.  A good reminder to be careful..  My nemesis is the auto fill, which may add the wrong Josh... I have to watch that one carefully.

Oct 04, 2014 12:18 PM #32
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life


It amazes me how often this occurs.  In the past few weeks, the buyer's agent didn't want to share any info about the buyer and the lender, keeping everything very very close to her vest.  .....then I get these emails forwarded to me what had several dozen messages within and I could figure out everything I needed to get the intel I wanted for my seller.

Over a year ago, another situation occured.  In that case, the lender working with my buyer sent me a message. If I recall, that was a reply/all situation that went awry.  When I read the prior message, I clearly saw the lender telling the buyer that I was a complete and utter body orifice because of some statements I was making about the position I'd taken.

I forwarded the message to the lender and suggested he be careful what he sends to me and the world, since surely he wouldn't want me to see those opinions he was making.  He laughed and said "you know how it goes".  I didn't undertand.  While I am under no illusions of being without fault, in that case I was standing up to protect the buyer in his contract, and if someone didn' want to go to the wall for the case, that's fine, but I didn't understand how the lender throwing me under the bus with the buyer was helping anything.

In conclusion.....yes. be cautious.

Oct 04, 2014 12:30 PM #33
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Good reminder, Jeff. I try to always be aware; I'll bcc my client; I'll remove my client's email when forwarding an answer to a question. Reminders like your helps me remain vigilant. Thanks!

Oct 04, 2014 01:18 PM #34
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jeff, been there and done that. Fortunately, did not much damage.

Oct 04, 2014 02:40 PM #35
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Even the most to get a person has silly moments now and again...

Oct 04, 2014 04:56 PM #36
David Saks
(retired) - Memphis, TN

Fine post. Great to see. Have a fantastic, successful day ahead.

Oct 04, 2014 05:21 PM #37
Blatt + Cutino
Keller Williams Coastal Estates - Monterey, CA
Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today*

With my real estate business, I am very careful about where my emails are going and what names are attached and who they are in the transaction..but, on more than one occassion, I have received emails regarding transactions that I am not involved with and/or reply alls that I know the parties did not mean to send to me.  Things that I would not want to be sent out if I was involved in that transaction..these times make me even more aware of how careful I need to be with confidential information. Thanks for the reminder!

Oct 04, 2014 11:00 PM #38
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Tammie - yep I have had that happen a couple of times. I don't forward client emails either

Kat - same here. And I have to admit I have goofed a couple of times and sent an email to the wrong person because I was not paying attention closely enough to the address I added in Outlook to the list of recipients

Fred - it seems to be pretty common. This post came about for these reasons due to several recent emails

Mark - hmm, that's a bit sneaky. And I agree about gmail

John - great example of what can happen if you aren't careful, as well as perhaps not saying certain things in an email anyway

Joe - yeps that exactly the reason. It can be a good thing IF everyone should see all the information.


Oct 04, 2014 11:01 PM #39
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

There isn't anything I do that has to have "careful" practiced because I don't do anything to be careful about....Buying and selling is not complex but some people bring that to the party

Oct 05, 2014 12:17 AM #40
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

I always check and double check my emails when sending in a transaction.  You're right to say that there can be statements in the chain of preceding emails that are not meant for the current recipient.  

Oct 06, 2014 03:36 AM #41
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

"Yes" to double-checking emails, both the content and the addressee list. I find it surprising how many people say things in emails they shouldn't and then send them around. It will get back to you and not in a good way!

Oct 07, 2014 06:41 AM #42
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Lenn - oh yes, have seen that multiple times. Big ooops

Kathy - I sometime remind clients about emails but admit it is not done consistenly. I think it's time for something like a checklist which would include social media. I see a blog post in my future

Athina - I have seen this a number of times. No doubt a big regret on their part


Oct 07, 2014 07:30 AM #43
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Jeff Dowler CRS   I am not verbose and my email content reflects that - it minimizes my exposure

Oct 07, 2014 08:10 AM #44
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Jeff, Good Advise. E-mails are great but they can create issues if forwarding includes a message trail and the party receiving should not be privy to it. 

Oct 09, 2014 02:11 PM #45
John Jonas
ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants - Highland, UT
John Jonas

It has become a habit for me to learn and check all emaisl before sending. But it only happened because of several mistakes in the past. I don't want to be in that place again. *recalls embarassment

Oct 09, 2014 08:08 PM #46
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The Southern California Relocation Dude
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